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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:51 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
rory wrote:
there are Buddhas in hell realms for goodness' sake.

Not because they experience afflicted thoughts. They emanate there out of compassion.

I always thought of that in the Dzogchen sense of seeing the perfection of everything. That is why in the 7 branches we ask the buddhas to not pass into nirvana, since they can see that even the hell realms are "perfect just as they are".

But that's just my idea/interpretation. Nobody authoritative has ever said anything of the sort to me.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:00 am 
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smcj wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
rory wrote:
there are Buddhas in hell realms for goodness' sake.

Not because they experience afflicted thoughts. They emanate there out of compassion.

I always thought of that in the Dzogchen sense of seeing the perfection of everything. That is why in the 7 branches we ask the buddhas to not pass into nirvana, since they can see that even the hell realms are "perfect just as they are".

But that's just my idea/interpretation. Nobody authoritative has ever said anything of the sort to me.


Malcom's explanation is that of the Mahāyāna scriptures. Buddhas and high-bhūmi bodhisattvas act of out great compassion, according to the needs of beings and their own past vows, even emanating into "hell realms" (nārakas).


From the Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra:

"To act for the benefit of sentient beings
They spend inconceivably many eons in hells;
This they do without wearying or shrinking back..."


In the Kṣitigarbhabodhisattvapraṇidhāna Sūtra, Kṣitigarbha liberates beings in the nārakas out of compassion and because of this past vow: "I vow that until the end of future eons I will respond to beings suffering for their offenses by using many expedient devices to bring about their liberation."

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:19 am 
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Jikan wrote:
Ziporyn's being a bit provocative in that text and in its sequel, Being and Ambiguity, specifically in his treatment of the two (or for Zhiyi three) truths. That is: an act that is ultimately wise and compassionate can be, by conventional terms, evil or at least awful. The Lotus Sutra is, acc. to Ziporyn, exemplary of this, inclusive of the Buddha's conduct in that sutra, in which Buddha Shakyamuni has to bend reason in creative ways to say he's not *really* been a liar, he's just kept the whole truth back from his followers for their own good (ultimately good, provisionally bad). Hence good and evil "interpenetrate," to use Ziporyn's term.

Here's the relevant passage:

Quote:
What is this strange 'charisma' that accrues to these lawless lawgivers who somehow place themselves in a position where they can, by definition as it were, 'do no wrong' no matter how much wrong they do? [...]

Gotama leaves his wife and child, and abandons his father's patrimony, not after fulfilling his Dharmic duties as an old man, but stealthily in the middle of the night. In the Mahayana version, in which his charisma is greatly amplified, he then goes on to repudiate all he had previously taught, and even, in the Lotus, baldly admits that it was all a pack of lies, and yet that he cannot for that reason be accused of lying (p. 411).


I should add that Ziporyn is describing this as admirable conduct. He's not criticizing Shakyamuni (or Jesus or Nichiren or any of the others he describes in this way). In the context of his argument, this is what liberation looks like. Buddha-activity is inscrutible and beyond conventional understanding. Go back to Lotus Sutra, chapter 4: you may find yourself tricked into shoveling horse droppings for decades even though this is, objectively, wholly unneeded and maybe even cruel, but is effective in helping one realize directly the uselessness of such practices in the light of one's own inherent capacity for awakening.

Now, on the topic of less "out there" and more conventional treatments of Zhiyi, see Ziporyn's own article on "Li" or Principle:

http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/philo/iw/reso ... n%20Li.pdf

Ng Yu-Kwan's book on Chinese Madhyamika, which touches on this question of evil:

http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=5599

and Paul Swanson's fine work, Foundations of Tien Tai Philosophy:

http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=4998


and then there's issue of "original enlightenment" or hongaku shiso which, some argue, follows logically from all this: that all is already awakened, Buddhahood is immanent and always has been, &c. This doctrine colors the entire discussion when it is taken up through a Japanese Buddhist lens.

http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/TEACHI ... kurab.html

viewtopic.php?f=59&t=7905&start=0


Jikan,

Thank you for clarifying Ziporyn's meaning (especially for this key idea: "an act that is ultimately wise and compassionate can be, by conventional terms, evil or at least awful") and for all of this helpful information. I can make sense of this idea now within the broader context of Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna thought and can connect T'ien-t'ai with the lineages and traditions with which I'm most familiar. I'll continue to explore T'ien-t'ai/Tendai, because of this.

Ed

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:08 am 
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Malcolm you're such a dualist unless TIbetan Buddhism adheres strictly to Yogacara philosophy.

Sukhamanveti and Jikan great posts and links! though I'm missing my good dharma friend Ven. Indrajala we're not perishing for scholarly discussions. I was flicking through J. Stone's great great book on Medieval Tendai and found this nice short quote:

"...the orthodox T'ient T'ai position, which holds the mind and the dharmas are always mutually inclusive, and that the nonduality of good and evil is the true aspect of reality." (p. 195)

So of course a Buddha experiences evil thoughts, Buddhas experience everything. Japanese Tendai Original Enlightenment was influenced by Huayan (Avatamsaka, Kegon) specifically the original enlightement theory explicated in The Awakening of Faith and the later brilliant commentary by Fazang, the Huayan Patriarch.
Again:
"....those of Hua-yen and T'ien T'ai, which envision the world as a cosmos in which all things, being empty of independent existance, interpenetrate and encompass one another." (p.7).

"Hua-yen thought sees all phenomena as expression of an originally pure and undifferentiated one mind." (ibid.) This is all very basic and part of Mahayana. It's sad to me how little attention seems to be paid today to Buddhist philosophy and mostly people are taught practices (meditation, chanting) and ethics (be it Confucian or Western values).
gassho
Rory

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:18 pm 
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rory wrote:
I was flicking through J. Stone's great great book on Medieval Tendai and found this nice short quote:

"...the orthodox T'ient T'ai position, which holds the mind and the dharmas are always mutually inclusive, and that the nonduality of good and evil is the true aspect of reality." (p. 195)

So of course a Buddha experiences evil thoughts, Buddhas experience everything. Japanese Tendai Original Enlightenment was influenced by Huayan (Avatamsaka, Kegon) specifically the original enlightement theory explicated in The Awakening of Faith and the later brilliant commentary by Fazang, the Huayan Patriarch.
Again:
"....those of Hua-yen and T'ien T'ai, which envision the world as a cosmos in which all things, being empty of independent existance, interpenetrate and encompass one another." (p.7).

"Hua-yen thought sees all phenomena as expression of an originally pure and undifferentiated one mind." (ibid.) This is all very basic and part of Mahayana. It's sad to me how little attention seems to be paid today to Buddhist philosophy and mostly people are taught practices (meditation, chanting) and ethics (be it Confucian or Western values).
gassho
Rory


Hi, Rory. Look at it this way. If you were to experience "up" and "down" as no longer separate, as undifferentiated, would you really experience "up" anymore? You wouldn't. "Up" is a dualistic concept. Therefore it is not present, not differentiated in nondual perception. Similarly, the Buddha's perception of ultimate, nondual truth cannot be used to argue that he experiences evil thoughts, because "evil" is a dualistic concept and therefore not to be found in nondual, undifferentiated awareness. As Fazang wrote in the treatise "Return to the Source": "It is only because of delusive thoughts that there are distinctions. If you transcend illusory ideas, there is just one true thusness."

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:21 am 
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Sukhamanveti:
you're collapsing everything back into an undifferentiated oneness, that's a misunderstanding. Here:
"Fa-tsang interpreted the two aspects of the one mind as suchness that is absolute or unchanging and suchness that accords with conditions equating them with principle and phenomena respectively. Suchiness in it's unchanging, quiescent mode is the one pure mind; in its dynamic mode, responding to the ignorance that is the condition of sentient beings, it manifests the phenomenal world." (Stone, p.7)

" the oceanic reflection concentration or oceanic reflection of interdependent origination of the universe, refers to the clear mirrorlike mind, like the placid ocean reflecting everything at once.In this holistic awareness everything is part of everything else, so that when one is brought up all are included. The Ch'an master Ma-tsu Tao-i likened this awareness to bathing in the ocean -at once using the waters of all tributaries." T. Cleary "Entry into the Inconceivable" p. 217 footnote 25.

So as I said the Buddhas experience everything, but they are not attached.
gassho
Rory

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:24 am 
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rory wrote:
Sukhamanveti:
you're collapsing everything back into an undifferentiated oneness, that's a misunderstanding. Here:
"Fa-tsang interpreted the two aspects of the one mind as suchness that is absolute or unchanging and suchness that accords with conditions equating them with principle and phenomena respectively. Suchiness in it's unchanging, quiescent mode is the one pure mind; in its dynamic mode, responding to the ignorance that is the condition of sentient beings, it manifests the phenomenal world." (Stone, p.7)

" the oceanic reflection concentration or oceanic reflection of interdependent origination of the universe, refers to the clear mirrorlike mind, like the placid ocean reflecting everything at once.In this holistic awareness everything is part of everything else, so that when one is brought up all are included. The Ch'an master Ma-tsu Tao-i likened this awareness to bathing in the ocean -at once using the waters of all tributaries." T. Cleary "Entry into the Inconceivable" p. 217 footnote 25.

So as I said the Buddhas experience everything, but they are not attached.
gassho
Rory



Rory,

Awareness doesn't have to be the "quiescent" aspect of the One Mind to be nondual, since Fazang incorporated Yogācāra doctrine of the three natures into his philosophy, as Cleary mentions in his introduction to Entry Into the Inconceivable. (For an in-depth look at the three natures, see the Yogācāra chapter in Mahāyāna Buddhism by Paul Williams.) Only in the constructed or conceptualized nature (parikalpitasvabhāva) does one find the duality of concepts. There is a "dynamic," undifferentiated nonduality in the nonconceptual flow of experience that is the dependent nature (paratantrasvabhāva), which is dependent origination stripped of conceptualization. As Paul Williams puts it, the dependent nature is "beyond language." When Fazang says that a buddha perceives all things infinitely interpenetrating and containing everything else, when he says that an atom "is person and is thing, is 'that' and is 'this,' is object and is subject, is defiled and is pure, is cause and is effect, is same and is different, is one and is many, is broad and is narrow, is animate and is inanimate" and this so because "phenomenon and phenomenon are without mutual interference," he is pointing to this nonduality, he is indicating this undifferentiated experience.

Thus nonduality also applies to a Buddha's experience of all phenomena, according to Cleary. In the same treatise, Fazang writes about "the mystic merging of mind and environment," involving the "mind without obstruction" and "environment without obstruction" that "all Buddhas realize." In my copy this is on page 166. If you have Cleary's Entry into the Inconceivable, look at his comments on this "merging" (p. 149). Cleary writes, "The mind can then lose its boundaries of thought and merge with the environment, receiving information ranging beyond the strictures of word and concept, reflecting myriad conditions of the environment in a mirrorlike faculty from which is born the body of knowledge." On page 166 Fazang writes of this, "In this way object and subject merge without distinct boundaries." The Buddha's experience of the environment is beyond words and concepts. It is clearly nondual. If it were constrained by the dualism of concepts, then it could not be accomplished at all. It would be divided into subject (perceiver) and object (perceived). This is why Cleary refers to losing "boundaries of thought" before merging with the environment.

Since the Buddha's experience of all phenomena is nondual according to Cleary, it can't be used to argue that the Buddha experiences "evil thoughts."

Ed

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:33 am 
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Here we go Sukhamanveti; from a Vietnamese Temple website in Australia, a research scholar from Punjabi University wrote the material below, it's very clear:
The Philosophical content of Avatamsaka Sutra [sic]
"This form of non-dualism is not monistic because shishi wu'ai does not obliterate the distinctions between things, but rather insists that everything is connected to everything else without losing distinctiveness. Identity and difference, in this view, are merely two sides of the same coin, which, though a single coin, still has two distinct sides that should not be confused for each other. Mutual interpenetration is temporal as well as spatial; past, present and future mutually interpenetrate. Hence according to Huayen, to enter the path towards final enlightenment is, in an important sense, to have already arrived at that destination.

Distinctive features of this approach to Buddhist philosophy include: Truth (or reality) is understood as encompassing and interpenetrating falsehood (or illusion), and vice versa. Good is understood as encompassing and interpenetrating evil. Similarly, all mind-made distinctions are understood as "collapsing" in the enlightened understanding of emptiness (a tradition traced back to the Buddhist philosopher Nāgārjuna).

So it is, Fa-tsang explains, with the principle of true thusness: it not only becomes defiled and pure without affecting its inherent purity but by its becoming defiled or pure its inherent purity is revealed. Not only does it reveal its inherent purity without obliterating defilement and purity; it is precisely because of its inherent purity that it can become defiled and pure. Here "inherent purity" means emptiness of inherently fixed nature whereas relative "defilement" and "purity" depend on action and the experiencing mind. All mundane and holy states are manifestations of "thusness" yet the essential nature of thusness— which is naturelessness— is not affected."

So Buddhas can experience evil thoughts, they experience everything, they are not defiled by them.

http://www.quangminh.org.au/index.php?o ... 9&Itemid=1

gassho
Rory

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:23 am 
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rory wrote:
Here we go Sukhamanveti; from a Vietnamese Temple website in Australia, a research scholar from Punjabi University wrote the material below, it's very clear:
The Philosophical content of Avatamsaka Sutra [sic]
"This form of non-dualism is not monistic because shishi wu'ai does not obliterate the distinctions between things, but rather insists that everything is connected to everything else without losing distinctiveness. Identity and difference, in this view, are merely two sides of the same coin, which, though a single coin, still has two distinct sides that should not be confused for each other. Mutual interpenetration is temporal as well as spatial; past, present and future mutually interpenetrate. Hence according to Huayen, to enter the path towards final enlightenment is, in an important sense, to have already arrived at that destination.

Distinctive features of this approach to Buddhist philosophy include: Truth (or reality) is understood as encompassing and interpenetrating falsehood (or illusion), and vice versa. Good is understood as encompassing and interpenetrating evil. Similarly, all mind-made distinctions are understood as "collapsing" in the enlightened understanding of emptiness (a tradition traced back to the Buddhist philosopher Nāgārjuna).

So it is, Fa-tsang explains, with the principle of true thusness: it not only becomes defiled and pure without affecting its inherent purity but by its becoming defiled or pure its inherent purity is revealed. Not only does it reveal its inherent purity without obliterating defilement and purity; it is precisely because of its inherent purity that it can become defiled and pure. Here "inherent purity" means emptiness of inherently fixed nature whereas relative "defilement" and "purity" depend on action and the experiencing mind. All mundane and holy states are manifestations of "thusness" yet the essential nature of thusness— which is naturelessness— is not affected."

So Buddhas can experience evil thoughts, they experience everything, they are not defiled by them.

http://www.quangminh.org.au/index.php?o ... 9&Itemid=1

gassho
Rory


That's a great find, Rory! Thank you very much for sharing this. I'm still mulling it over. I think that the most successful interpretations of ancient thinkers are the ones that make a coherent "picture" of all of the textual evidence. At first glance it makes sense, but I'm not yet sure if I can fully reconcile "This form of non-dualism is not monistic because shishi wu'ai does not obliterate the distinctions between things..." with Fazang's assertion, "It is only because of delusive thoughts that there are distinctions. If you transcend illusory ideas, there is just one true thusness." Fazang appears to confine distinctions to the conceptualized nature alone, which is said to be how phenomena appear to the deluded, not the awakened, and to exclude them from the dependent nature. The conceptualized nature is said to be falsely dualistic (both perceptually and conceptually), nonexistent, and not part of reality. I suppose the key might be in the interpreter's comments about defilement and purity. Maybe the translation is imperfect. I'll continue to consider this interpreter's perspective, however, and see if it can make sense out of Fazang's writings. I'll also try to compare it with the perspective of other interpreters when I'm able. (There is a spectrum of interpretations of Fazang at present, the most recent approach seems to be the Madhyamaka interpretation and the oldest appears to be monistic idealism, as far as I've been able to tell.) Thanks again. You've given me much to consider.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:57 am 
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LastLegend wrote:
Can you point to the specific passage?


Zhiyi 智顗 (538-597) in his commentary on the Lotus Sūtra states the following (note this is a quick tentative translation done in a noisy Himalayan internet cafe):

Quote:
《妙法蓮華經玄義》卷5:「又凡夫心一念即具十界。悉有惡業性相。秖惡性相即善性相。由惡有善離惡無善。翻於諸惡即善資成。如竹中有火性。未即是火事。故有而不燒。遇緣事成即能燒物。惡即善性未即是事。遇緣成事即能翻惡。如竹有火。火出還燒竹。惡中有善。善成還破惡。故即惡性相是善性相也。」(CBETA, T33, no. 1716, p. 743, c25-p. 744, a3)

Furthermore, a single moment of thought in the mind of a common being possesses the ten realms. They completely possess the nature and characteristics of evil karma, yet the nature and characteristics of evil are the nature and characteristics of virtue. It is due to evil that there is virtue. Apart from evil there is no virtue. Turning over evils, there is virtue supporting them, like inside bamboo there being the nature of fire. It is not yet the object of fire, which is why it exists but does not burn. When meeting with conditions the phenomenon comes to exist, and then it can burn things. Evil as the nature of virtue is not yet an existent phenomenon. When it meets with conditions it become an existent phenomenon, and then there can be a turn to evil. It is like bamboo. Fire is emitted and returns, burning the bamboo. In evil there is virtue. When virtue comes to exist it returns, destroying the evil. This is why that which are the nature and characteristics of evil are the nature and characteristics of virtue.


This might not be so controversial, but his following remarks are:

Quote:
《妙法蓮華經玄義》卷5:「凡夫一念。皆有十界識名色等。苦道性相。迷此苦道生死浩然。此是迷法身為苦道。不離苦道別有法身。如迷南為北無別南也。若悟生死即是法身。故云苦道性相即是法身性相也。」(CBETA, T33, no. 1716, p. 744, a3-7)

A single moment of thought of an ordinary being always possesses the consciousnesses, names and forms of the ten realms. The nature and characteristics of the path of suffering – they misunderstand this path of suffering, and saṃsāra remains expansive. This is misunderstanding the dharmakāya as the path of suffering. There is no separate dharmakāya apart from the path of suffering, like mistaking south as north, there is no separate south. If one realizes saṃsāra, then it is the dharmakāya. Thus it is said the nature and characteristics of the path of suffering are the nature and characteristics of the dharmakāya.


Zhiyi derives his ideas from various scriptures. One could go into very great detail about this.

As I recall, Zhiyi's theory was actually rather controversial amongst his peers and later generations, though it became a core teaching of Tiantai which was discussed and elaborated even throughout the Song Dynasty. The dictionary term for this concept is xing'e 性惡. If you read Chinese see the following lengthy explanations:

http://cbs.ntu.edu.tw/dict/index.php?ke ... 7%E6%83%A1

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:00 am 
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Super, thanks so much Ven. Indrajala for making the translations and posting. I find it interesting that the Nichiren schools and their followers in general all know this, in fact the famous saying ascribed to Nichiren "samsara is nirvana" is actually a straight quote from Zhiyi. Nichiren was always quoting Zhiyi in his letters (gosho) so I shouldn't be suprised but Tendai seems unaware.
with gassho
Rory

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:32 am 
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rory wrote:
I find it interesting that the Nichiren schools and their followers in general all know this, in fact the famous saying ascribed to Nichiren "samsara is nirvana" is actually a straight quote from Zhiyi.


The quote actually comes from Nagarjuna who is the patriarch to virtual all Mahayana schools; Nichiren, Pure Land, Zen, you name it:

in Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakrika we find this karika of his:

“Samsara is nothing essentially different from nirvana. Nirvana is nothing essentially different from samsara” (MMK XXV, 19, trans. K.K. Inada).


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